Sukkot 2017at Bat Yam with students from Sanibel Congregational UCC Christian pre-School and their teacher Ana Abella.
Welcome to our new Bat Yam Temple of the Islands Page! Here is where you can keep up with the goings-on at Bat Yam and everybody's favorite rabbi, Rabbi Stephen Lewis Fuchs. Each month there will be an update from the temple's newsletter, Bat Yam Matters. But, if there is late-breaking news prior to the next newsletter, you can bet I'll be all over it, and you'll be the first to know -- as long as you check this page periodically.
'BAT YAM MATTERS'
A Jewish congregation serving residents and guests of Sanibel, Captiva, Fort Myers, and surrounding communities providing a place of worship in the Reform tradition and creating an extended Jewish family Number 92 February 2018 Sh’vat/Adar, 5778
BAT YAM AND SCUCC ANNUAL PULPIT EXCHANGE FIRST WEEKEND IN FEBRUARY
During the Shabbat service of February 2nd, Reverend Dr. John Danner, Senior Pastor of Bat Yam’s host church will be the guest speaker. His sermon title is “Set Apart – But For What?” Based on Exodus 19:1-6, Reverend Danner will explore what it means for Jews and Christians to understand themselves to be a “priestly people” and how American exceptionalism may or may not reflect those understandings. On Sunday, February 4th, Rabbi Stephen Fuchs will speak at both the 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. services of the SCUCC. His sermon topic will be "The Psalms’ (In My Opinion)."
FEBRUARY 2018 BAT YAM SHABBAT MORNING CLASSES
The Shabbat morning classes begin with a half hour of Hebrew reading instruction taught by Rabbi Fuchs. They continue with Rabbi Fuchs’ presentations according to the topic “Beginning with Creation in Genesis and Getting As Far As We Get as the Year Unfolds”. Bat Yam congregants present the second session.
Irene Skolnick is overseeing the February congregant sessions focusing on the topic of Jews in America, beginning with the Revolutionary War period and moving forward to such topics as Jews in the Civil Rights movement.
Rabbi Fuchs Reflects
The Adult Issues of Purim
Purim is a time for Groggers, costumes, noise and merriment. With all the frivolity and fun that we shall hopefully experience on Shabbat Eve, March 2, it is easy to dismiss Purim as merely a fun holiday for the young and the young at heart, but Purim is much more.
The Purim story in the Book of Esther confronts the mature reader with vital issues about sexual abuse, the phenomenon of prejudice, and human destiny.
Vashti Too seldom do we ponder the courage of Vashti, King Ahasuerus' first wife. The world's most powerful man commands her to display her beauty for his drunken friends, but she refuses. She is a worthy role model for our daughters. Vashti refused to simply be a sex object even if that refusal cost her throne. Hopefully all of us can learn from her courage.
Prejudice A vital lesson about prejudice presents itself when Mordecai refuses to bow down before Haman. Haman is angry, but as the Bible records: "...it was not enough for him to punish Mordecai alone, for they had told him the people of Mordecai" (Esther 3:5). No, because of his anger at one man, Haman sought to destroy all the Jews.” Sadly, the prejudice presented against us in the book of Esther has confronted our people many times throughout history. Many other groups experience it today. The Purim story provides a vivid example of this phenomenon that we can profitably discuss with young people.
Destiny When Mordecai read Haman's decree condemning the Jews of Persia to death, he sent a message to Esther to intercede for her people. Esther's response was that she dared not enter the presence of the king because he had not summoned her, and the penalty is death for anyone who appears unbidden before the king unless he holds out his scepter as a sign of acceptance. Mordecai, through the servant Hatach, asks Esther a question we should all frequently ask ourselves: "Who knows if you have not become queen for just such a time as this?" (Esther 4:14) In other words, who knows if we are where we are at any given moment just for the opportunity the moment offers us to make a difference. Mordecai's really asks us all: Are we on this earth just to enjoy life? Is our own pleasure the primary purpose of our existence? Jewish tradition and the Book of Esther says, "No."
Esther could have lived out her life in selfish luxury. But Mordecai's question pricked her conscience enough so that she risked everything to save our people.
Mordecai's question addresses us as well.
In our lives, all of us, like Esther, have moments when our action or inaction, our willingness or unwillingness to take a risk can make a vital difference in someone's life. We can seize these moments or turn away from them. Esther swallowed her fear and seized her moment. Her example and her courage commend themselves to all of us when opportunities come for us to step up and make a difference.
So, as Purim approaches I hope we prepare for more than a good time. If we study the Book of Esther carefully, the lessons we learn about sexual harassment, the phenomenon of prejudice and our destiny as human beings can enrich our Jewish souls long after the celebration is over.
Your Rabbi, Stephen Fuchs
Annual Meeting and Pot Luck Dinner
Bat Yam’s annual meeting and installation of officers and the Board of Directors will be held Thursday, March 15th. Dinner will begin at 6:00pm, followed by the meeting. We are planning to have a Pot Luck Dinner and hope many of you will volunteer to prepare a favorite dish. You may bring an appetizer, salad, entrée, vegetable or dessert. Please make enough for ten to twelve and include a note card with your name and the name of your dish. In lieu of food contributions, donations to cover expenses are welcome. Please plan to arrive at 5:30pm with your food dish so that we can have everything set up and ready by start time.
Contact one of us with any questions and to let us know what you are bringing, or you may sign up at services using the sign-up sheet at the welcome table. Thank you for your help; we look forward to seeing you there.
JANUARY SHABBAT INSTALLATION SERVICE FORMALLY WELCOMES RABBI FUCHS AND CANTOR SIMON
During the Shabbat evening service of Friday, January 5th, guest Rabbi Paul J. Citrin formally installed Rabbi Stephen Fuchs and Cantor Murray Simon as rabbi and cantor of Bat Yam. This very special evening hosted by Bat Yam president Alan Lessack included remarks welcoming Rabbi Fuchs and Cantor Simon into the Sanibel community by Sanibel City Manager Judith A. Zimomra. Other speakers were Ms. Jeanne Tobin, presently a resident of Cleveland, OH who was president of Temple Isaiah in Columbia, MD where Rabbi Fuchs served in the mid-1980s and The Reverend Doctor John H. Danner, Senior Pastor of Bat Yam’s host church, SCUCC.
As a formal response to his installation, Cantor Simon sang the world premiere of a musical composition he wrote in honor of Rabbi Fuchs titled “La-asok B’divreiTorah,” in which he set to music the prayer that precedes study of Torah, “Praised Art Thou, Adonai Our God, Sovereign of the Universe, Who Instills in us the holiness of Mitzvot By commanding us to study the words of Torah.” Rabbi Paul Citrin delivered formal remarks on the topic “The Keys to A Flourishing Congregation.” A native of Los Angeles, Rabbi Citrin was ordained by the Hebrew Union College in 1973. He currently serves as the rabbi of the Taos, NM Jewish Center and teaches classes at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Albuquerque and at other locations.
Rabbi Stephen Fuchs Installation Ceremony at Bat Yam Temple of the Islands. With Rabbi Paul J. Citrin and Cantor Murray Simon.
Repeatedly in the Bible, it is the woman who 'gets it' and the man who is clueless. Eve has been maligned for generations for the supposed fall of man, when in fact; she is the heroine of the elevation of humanity. ~